Sorry about the price-fixing. Here’s a bunch of washed-up crap that we accounted for at price-fixed values…

Filed under: — site admin @ 4:09 pm

Showing more of a sense of humor than anyone may have been willing to give member companies of the Recording Industry Association of America credit for, the bevy of albums distributed as part of a multi-million dollar settlement (in which the defendants admitted no wrong-doing, of course…) of a class action suit over CD price-fixing contained numerous albums rich with explicit content and complete schlock.

Executives at Capitol Records must have had a good laugh at being able to dump thousands of copies of Meredith Brooks’ Blurring the Edges on school districts in lieu of having to A) find a suitably large landfill and B) stop ripping customers off left and right with merchandise at oligopolistically determined prices.


California cows are happy (read: toxic) cows…

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:41 pm

Though the California Milk Advisory Board’s “California Cows are Happy Cows” campaign has met with great success and mild protest, the happiness of the cows may matter far less than the toxicity of the milk produced. Unsafe levels of perchlorate were found in milk produced in California.

Drink up kids. Stunted thyroid development is just a glass of milk away…


You may now fear your government…

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:14 pm

A government that persistently lies about its motivations in waging war may not be enough, nor may a government that routinely violates the Geneva Convention. Even a government that somehow finds reasonable a tax refund for Enron may not be enough, but a government that considers a law that would make even the sale of a VCR illegal as a device that “aids, abets, induces (or) councels” copyright violations must be enough to get the citizens of the US into a fluster.

If this is too heady a concept for the reader, we can boil it down.

  • Tivo? Gone.
  • VCR? Gone.
  • CD Burner? Yep, gone.
  • Peer-to-peer file systems? Gone.
  • Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (Betamax lawsuit)? Very gone.

Even a country of people who have never cared about anything else their government has done to them or anyone else must care about the possibility of not being able to buy a device that allows them to tape the season finale of ER


What did you learn in school today?

Filed under: — site admin @ 1:19 pm

If you learned that drugs remain indefinitely in the fat in your body, continuing to resurface and retrieve the scrambled three-dimensional images in your brain until you make use of a sauna to sweat them out in a rainbow-colored ooze of mental clarity, you may have had a visit from Narcanon, a thinly veiled introduction to the foundations of Scientology masquerading as a drug-education program.

For those of you who don’t know, Scientologists are a relatively wealthy group of unscientific whack-jobs who can make the proud claims of:

The irony of their name is likely lost on the overwhelming majority of their members…

Hang up the phone right now…

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:02 pm

The Bush administration announced yesterday its decision to side with the Bells (NYTimes registration required, U:chatteruser, P:nytimes) in a long-standing conflict between the United States’ four regional Bell companies and companies that lease access to those lines to provide competitive local phone service, the largest of which are AT&T and MCI.

Let’s examine this for a moment. These four Bell companies – SBC Communications, BellSouth, Qwest, and Verizon – have been granted local monopolistic control over regional phone infrastructure to avoid having multiple separate infrastructures in any given area. These Bell companies, which have more than doubled the price of local phone service in the face of decreasing costs over the past ten years (even when adjusting for inflation), have been fighting to raise the “wholesale” rate that they charge to competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) for some time.

These are the same four Bells that make it impossible for you to receive DSL service without also getting a landline from a CLEC as per 2001 revisions to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Taking a moment for this aside, were I to order DSL service from TDS Metrocom, I would also be required to order voice phone service from them. You might expect this sort of bundle-packaging as a result of TDS’s marketing research, but it actually comes from SBC’s requirement that they lease the line for both purposes, making TDS Metrocom less competitive with SBC.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice have both reversed course on this issue on orders from the Bush administration brokered by a promise on the part of the Bells to not raise rates before the presidential election in November.

Torches and pitchforks are on your left. One per villager, please…

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